13. Arda Hath No Fury Like an Angry Glorfindel
~Western Scouting Party~
Malbeorn- a veteran Ranger
Rowgond- a young Ranger from Hollin
Halbarad- the Ranger closest to Aragorn (give credit to Tolkien for this one, I didn’t create him)
~Eastern Scouting Party~
Rithol- female Elf from Rivendell
Orimhedil- male Elf from Rivendell
Barin- token Dwarf. From the Lonely Mountain
Glóin- Father of Gimli
Glorfindel- Father of Legolas (whoa, what was that!?! I certainly hope you did a double take. No relation to Legolas whatsoever. Making sure you’re on top of things… Good? Okay then, let’s move on.)
Hardly an hour after their departure from the remains of the Last Bridge, the western scouting party found themselves caught amidst a driving storm of sleet. Icy rain fell from the slate-colored sky in thick pellets, and the wind swept it forward at an almost horizontal angle. The group quickly discovered their hooded cloaks provided little protection from the weather as they were mercilessly pounded.
The East-West Road soon became a myriad of ankle-deep puddles and slush. The horses sloshed through the mess, heads bowed and lowered in the driving sleet. Aragorn shivered and felt his numbed hands fumble with Roheryn’s reins. He had been wet to begin with due to his plunge into the river, and the icy rain was not helping matters.
“I fear my mace is rusting.” Boromir glanced gratefully at Rowgond. The young man’s comment was the closest any of them would come to admitting they needed to stop.
Malbeorn, who had the sharpest vision and therefore rode at the head of the party, turned to face his companions. Shielding his eyes with his hand, he sought out Aragorn. “If my memory serves me correctly, a small village lies ahead. Shall we find shelter until this storm abates, or press onward?”
Aragorn did not need long to consider the options. Shelter of any kind sounded wonderful, for he was beginning to feel like a giant block of ice. “I fear my sword begins to rust as well,” he began.
“Aye,” chimed both Halbarad and Boromir, nodding in agreement. “Our weapons shall be ruined.”
Aragorn almost smiled to himself as he was suddenly reminded of the time he had been in a similar situation while journeying with Legolas. Legolas would have a fit if he were presently here to witness the way each refused to admit his need for rest. It was a form of mortal pride that utterly confounded the Elven archer and never failed to drive him to exasperation. “Let us stop at the village,” said Aragorn. “It will provide us with a chance to dry our weapons. Besides, I do not think we shall miss much in this weather, for it is difficult to see—much less scout—as it is.”
Halbarad, Boromir and Rowgond all murmured in agreement. “Very well,” said Malbeorn, the only member of the group who seemed unaffected by the weather, “we stop at Fenadoch.”*
Leaning over to Aragorn, Boromir whispered quietly. “I almost believe he prefers this weather. Are you sure he is but a Dúnadan?”
Aragorn smiled in reply, frozen rain beading and dripping from his dark hood. “I often wondered the same when I was younger. I still have no explanation for his ridiculous tolerance, though I am fairly sure he is as mortal as the rest of us.”
Over Aragorn’s right shoulder, Halbarad snorted. “I am still not convinced that grizzled fox is one of us.” He turned to Boromir. “Be thankful you never had to serve in any of his campaigns. He nearly drove us to exhaustion in our younger years. Even the Elves were amazed.”
* * *
The chilled party rode into Fenadoch and quickly made for the nearest tavern, which was named ‘The Singing Mûmak.’ “How odd,” commented Rowgond as he caught sight of the tavern’s battered wooden sign. A golden Oliphaunt had been crudely painted upon it, along with the establishment’s name. “I have yet to see one that is either golden or singing.”
Halbarad paused to glance at the short, light-haired Ranger before dismounting. “You also have yet to travel as widely as the rest of us. But do not worry, young Rowgond. I am sure we shall stumble across a singing Mûmak before our return to Rivendell.”
The others chuckled as they led their steeds into the warm straw-scented stables. Rowgond rolled his eyes. “When cows fly, Master Halbarad,” he retorted.
Halbarad nodded in deadpan seriousness. “Yes, that too.”
After removing their horses’ tack and giving the animals a well-deserved rubdown, Boromir and the Rangers left the stables and headed for their respective rooms. They quickly changed to drier, more comfortable clothing and made plans to rejoin in the tavern’s common room.
* * *
The main room of The Singing Mûmak was boisterous and smoky. Light flickered pleasantly from a glowing fireplace and numerous torches fastened along the walls. Weary travelers, rejuvenated by food and drink, mingled and jested amongst the locals. Boromir drummed his fingers on the oaken table as Aragorn sat down next to him. The group had purposely chosen an indiscreet table in the corner of the room.
Aragorn slowly reclined until his back was leaning against the wall and brought forth his pipe. It crackled as he lit it. The Ranger brought the pipe to his lips and inhaled deeply, his eyes darting alertly around the room as he took everything in. “I should say we have chosen one of the more popular establishments of this town.”
Boromir nodded in agreement. He raised his hand in recognition as he caught sight of Halbarad and Rowgond weaving their way through the crowd. The savory smell of food wafted through the air, making him realize just how hungry he was.
“By my sword, I’m starving,” Halbarad announced when he was within earshot of Aragorn and Boromir. “I could eat a whole flying cow.”
The four laughed as Rowgond and Halbarad sat at the table’s heavy wooden bench. They had not long to wait for the fifth member of their party; soon the wiry frame of Malbeorn could be seen slipping through the masses. When at last the veteran ranger joined his companions, the group beckoned a serving maid to place their orders.
A pretty maid with rosy cheeks and a thick braid of honeyed hair hurried over to the men. “What may I order for you, good sirs?” the girl asked shyly, unable to keep the glint of curiosity from her green eyes, yet unwilling to look directly into their faces.
Her eyes fell upon Boromir, and a deep blush flushed her rosy cheeks as he smiled kindly at her. Malbeorn chuckled and even Aragorn had a difficult time restraining a snicker. The young girl was clearly smitten with the man of Gondor. “What would you recommend, my good lady?” asked Halbarad.
“Well sir, our ale is known as some of the finest in these parts,” she stated proudly before smiling shyly and ducking her head. “And on a cold and blustery day as today, I would suggest a bit of stew.”
Malbeorn grunted in approval. “Then ale and stew it shall be,” he called.
The pretty maid gave a polite nod, and with a final glance in Boromir’s direction, turned and headed towards the kitchens.
Rowgond leaned over to Boromir, a huge grin plastered upon his face. “What may I order for you, siiiiirs,” he drawled, raising his voice to a feminine pitch. Boromir gave him a good-natured punch in the shoulder as Rowgond began fluttering his lashes. He was just about to respond to the jest when snatches of a conversation from a few tables down caught their attention.
A burly peasant farmer pointed his soupspoon at his neighbor as he emphasized the gossip. “…a group of them, all clad in dark clothing. They caused the Last Bridge to collapse—I hear they just rode over it and the thing crumbled. Sounds like the work of some dark force to me.”
His neighbor, a scrawny-looking man missing several teeth, shook his head in disapproval. “These are dark times, my friend,” he whistled. “I hear strange things are abroad… I wonder if it was those black riders they saw over in Bree.”
The peasant farmer took another bite of hot stew and swallowed. “Aye, I would say it was. And I heard the ones on the bridge were headed in this direction. We’d best be on the lookout for them.”
A sickening feeling of dread sank into the western scouting party. Boromir and Halbarad grimaced. Rowgond slid a bit lower under the table, and Malbeorn pulled his hood over his head. “Oh no,” moaned Aragorn.
* * *
The wrath of Glorfindel radiated through the forest in scorching blasts. Legolas felt them before the enraged captain moved into earshot, which was an impressive feat considering Orkish armies have tread quieter paths. Birds shot into the sky in full-fledged terror as he stormed by, and even the trees and ferns drew back their leaves in fright. Glorfindel—Captain of Imladris, famed warrior of Gondolin, and slayer of Balrogs—was on the rampage.
And if he had his way, Mirkwood would be short one prince by nightfall.
Legolas sat amidst the branches of a slender ash tree. He had learned, through personal experience, that one does not run away from punishment. Doing so only increased the severity. ‘Besides,’ he reasoned, ‘I have faced the wrath of Father many a time. I am sure Glorfindel can do no worse.’
He began to seriously question this once he felt the first wave of anger hit him. Glorfindel was going to kill him.
The golden-haired Elf lord stormed through the forest. Where was Legolas? “Son of Thranduil,” he roared, “Show yourself at once!” His voice shook the land like thunder and the silence that followed was deafening.
Legolas took a deep breath and jumped down from the branches of the ash tree as Glorfindel stomped by. He landed lightly upon the ground and quickly straightened. “Lord Glorfindel.”
Glorfindel spun around, his face livid. He stiffly walked towards the young prince until the two were literally standing toe to toe. Legolas lifted his chin and bravely met Glorfindel’s dagger-like gaze. He had committed no crime, and would not let Glorfindel intimidate him.
Upon observing the slender Elf’s defiant stance, Glorfindel thought it small wonder Thranduil was often pushed to the limit by the antics of his youngest son.
The captain of Rivendell inhaled deeply and crossed his arms over his chest. “What, in the name of Eru, were you thinking?” he hissed. Legolas took note of the strained tone to the Elf lord’s voice. His father’s would become more tightened and strained the angrier he was. If Glorfindel’s tone was any indication of his anger level… Legolas realized he was, to use the old Wood-Elven term, “in quite the nest of brambles.”
“I merely wanted to punish the Dwarf.”
“Punish the Dwarf?” Glorfindel’s voice arose several notches. “First and foremost, ‘the Dwarf’ has a name—Gimli. You shall refer to him as such from now on. Secondly,” he bellowed, “I informed you he had already been punished for his actions! You had no right, Legolas Greenleaf, to take action of your own.”
“I had every right to do so!” protested Legolas. “Whatever punishment he received obviously failed to make an impression. He certainly did not seem sorry for his actions last evening! Did you not hear what he said to me? He threatened to do it again.”
“He did no such thing, Legolas. And I assure you; Glóin dealt severe punishment unto Gimli for his actions. Gimli would not dare repeat them.”
Legolas opened his mouth in disbelief. That had been Gimli’s punishment? A father-son chat? “You let his father deliver the punishment?” he cried, “What justice is there to be found in that? His father probably patted him on the back and congratulated him on a fine effort!”
“As I am congratulating you?” Glorfindel snapped. He desperately fought the urge to throttle the young prince. Legolas could be amazingly wooden-headed.
“Elves are different,” replied the young Elf flatly. “Dwarves, on the other hand, are prideful, stubborn and argumentative.”
“If that is not grass calling the leaf green!” exclaimed Glorfindel in exasperation. “Based upon your reasoning, I would name YOU amongst their kin.”
Legolas felt himself flush in indignation. He was most definitely not prideful, stubborn… and argumentative…
Elbereth, what if Glorfindel was right.
“I didn’t hurt him,” he replied half-heartedly, more to himself than to the Elf lord.
“Didn’t hurt him? DIDN’T HURT HIM?” Glorfindel exploded. “Legolas, you could have killed him! I have never, in all my years, seen an Elf behave so irresponsibly, with so little respect for life. It boggles the mind!”
Legolas lowered his eyes and sighed. As much as he was loath admit it, Glorfindel WAS right. He focused on Glorfindel’s hands—which were balled into fists. Valar, Glorfindel was furious. Legolas suddenly felt a wave of shame rush over him. What had he been thinking? Why had he allowed himself to fall victim to such foolish behavior? He could have seriously injured the Dwarf.
Legolas raised his eyes to meet Glorfindel’s. “I am…sorry.” He swallowed. Pride was difficult not to choke on. “You are right: I was rash and acted without considering the consequences. I ought to know better than to use my weapons so carelessly,” he lowered his gaze and spoke softer. “I willingly accept whatever punishment you wish to give, for I know I am deserving of it.”
Glorfindel nodded, thankful he would not have to beat reason into the younger Elf. “Very well, then.” Legolas was going to hate him for this. “I order you to personally apologize to both Gimli and Glóin.”
Legolas grimaced. Oh yes, his pride would be hurting for weeks.
“And—” Legolas stiffened. “—when we reach Mirkwood, you are to inform your father of your actions.” Glorfindel watched as the young Elf’s eyes grew wider. “I am sure Thranduil will deal with you accordingly.”
Glorfindel raised a golden brow as Legolas opened his mouth in protest. “Do you accept these terms, Prince of Mirkwood? Or perhaps I should turn you over to the Dwarven members of our party. I am sure they will think of a far more suitable punishment.”
Legolas sighed miserably. Drawing himself up, he gave a submissive nod. “Yes, Lord Glorfindel. I accept your terms.”
“Good, it is settled.” Glorfindel unfolded his arms. ‘That went surprisingly well,’ he thought. ‘Mayhap Legolas is not as thickheaded as I believed. At least now he will be too preoccupied with what to tell his father and less focused on quarreling with Gimli.’
He gave Legolas a hearty pat on the shoulder as the two Elves made their way back through the forest. Before joining the rest of the company, Glorfindel turned to his companion and imparted a final piece of advice: “Remember Legolas: ‘fight fire with fire and all that remains are the ashes.’”
Legolas mutely nodded and forced back the smile that threatened to break across his face: visions of a screaming and burned Gimli ran through his mind. It was quite a satisfying picture.
*Fenadoch: A small village about an hour west of the Last Bridge. The East-West Road (or Great East Road, depending on your book) serves as the town’s main route of travel.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.